Prairie Pines Campground
Saturday, 9/1, was laundry day. We got up early and drove to the laundromat in Lena and got that done and behind us. Then we headed to Freeport for a quick stop at Walmart and back to Mrs. Mike’s for more chips.
Sunday morning, 9/2, we went out for breakfast with Terri’s brother, Tracy, to Family Affair Café in Freeport. We hadn’t seen Tracy for just over a year, so it was nice to see him again. After breakfast, the three of us went to a city park in Freeport called Krape Park for an event called “Art in the Park.” We walked around and checked out the various arts and crafts that were being offered.
There was quite a bit of jewelry on display.
These coasters were cute.
The bottom row from left to right reads, “1 martini, 2 martini, 3 martini, floor.” Overall we thought the event was a bit lacking, but it was still nice walking around and spending some time with Tracy. This is Tracy in the red shirt with his sister, Terri.
They didn’t know I was taking the picture. Afterward, we made a stop at the cemetery and Kmart and then went back to Tracy’s house and visited a while longer.
Earlier Sunday morning I took some pictures of the campground at Lake Le-Aqua-Na with all the campers that were there for Labor Day weekend. Then late Monday afternoon I tried to take similar pictures for comparison. Sunday’s pictures are on the left, and Monday’s are on the right.
Anyway, I think there were a lot of weekend warriors out for the weekend. It wasn’t a very noisy or obnoxious crowd, and they really didn’t bother us.
Labor Day Monday, 9/3, we went to Freeport and met our friends Dick and Emily at The Union Dairy. It’s actually Alber Ice Cream Parlor now, but everyone still calls it The Union Dairy. The Union Dairy first started in 1914, and it’s still a good old-fashioned ice cream parlor today.
Dick, Emily, and I had Hot Fudge Sundaes, and Terri had a Turtle Sundae. I was so excited about my sundae I forgot to take pictures!
Emily and Dick…
and Terri and Emily.
The ice cream was delicious by the way!
Tuesday, 9/4, was supposed to be a travel day. Unfortunately, though, that didn’t happen. When I was checking the air pressures, I had a problem with one of the valve stems. I thought it came apart, but actually it just stuck open. All I knew at the time was all the air came rushing out. I called Good Sam Road Service, and they said that Alber Towing would be out in 1.5 hours. By the way, that is the same Alber that owns The Union Dairy! One of their trucks arrived at almost the exact expected time. Just before his arrival the driver called me to verify which campground I was in. I started to explain how to get there, and he said he was familiar with the park. He also told me his in-laws are camp hosts there. Another “small world” moment! When he arrived I informed him of the situation. He didn’t have any valve stems with him, so he grabbed his phone and made a phone call. I assumed he was calling one of the other tow truck drivers to see if they had any. Shortly after that, his father-in-law, the camp host, drove up with a replacement valve stem and the tool to install it. By the time all this was taken care of, I was ready to call it a day and start all over Wednesday, which is what we did. During this whole process, we discovered that the tire changing tools that came with the truck were inadequate in removing the center cap. Later on Tuesday, Leroy, the camp host, drove over to our site and handed me a tool that he fabricated for me to use to remove the center cap. Not only that, he wouldn’t let me pay him for the replacement valve! “THANKS LEROY!”
Since we didn’t leave as planned, we decided to go to Freeport to visit our favorite local city park and make a stop for some dinner. Krape Park is a beautiful landmark in Freeport.
Interesting note, Krape Park is a palindrome (Krape Park spelled backwards is Krape Park). The park has a wonderful band shell. Terri’s father was the conductor of the Freeport Concert Band for decades, and Terri’s mom played the bass drum in the band. We spent many Summer Sunday nights here listening to the great music, and then we would go to The Union Dairy for ice cream after the concert.
This is the old fire truck and fire pole that I remember playing on as a child.
There’s a merry-go-round too…
and a waterfall.
The Yellow Creek runs through the park. The park has a duck pond, picnic shelters, mini-golf, walking paths, playground equipment, tennis courts, and ball fields.
After our walk down “memory lane” through the park we went to The Garden Deli.
Terri had a sandwich called “Turkey Lurkey,” which was turkey and provolone…
and I had a sandwich called “Love at First Bite,” which was ham, pepperoni, and provolone.
It’s supposed to be Swiss, but they were out of it, so I settled for the provolone! Of course, we had to have some Mrs. Mike’s Potato Chips with our sandwiches. This sandwich shop has been in business for over 25 years. They’ve changed locations, but the food is still as good as we remember it.
Here’s a couple of mind boggling conundrums in the Freeport area. The first is the “New Laundry” on the west end of town. This place has been in business for over FIVE YEARS!
How long does it have to be there before it's not “New” anymore???
And this sign has been here for over a year now too. It’s located just west of Freeport.
“WORLD FAMOUS”… really??? Do you think they know about this in London or Moscow or Paris? Do they sit around thinking, “Boy, that sure was good fish in Freeport!” I don’t think so.
Finally, Wednesday, 9/5, we were on our way out of Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park. We got a later start than planned… of course. There were two major delays. First I couldn’t remove one of the X-Chocks
from between the tires. I pulled and pulled on the wrench to no avail. I decided to let some air out of one of the tires, but it still wouldn’t budge even after releasing about 30 pounds. Then I came up with the solution! I extended the left rear jack, and by raising the trailer up it relieved the pressure on the chock allowing me to remove it. Then, of course, I had to get the air compressor out and fill the tire back up. The other problem I had was at the dump station. No, Paul, I did NOT have an unwanted spill! Instead, part of the sewage hose storage compartment started to come apart. It was an easy fix using a screw driver, but still a delay.
We finally arrived at Prairie Pines Campground in Rantoul, IL, about 5PM. We stayed here last year also. Besides the fact that it’s a really nice campground, we’re here to see our friends Jim and Linda. We met them at our first RV-Dreams Rally in South Carolina. They’re in their 12th year of full-timing, and they have no intentions of getting off the road anytime soon. We had a couple of pizzas delivered from Monical's Pizza. A deep dish sausage pizza…
and a thin crust sausage pizza.
The pizzas were excellent, and we enjoyed each other’s company for a few hours. We also had some delicious “secret recipe” chocolate cake Linda had baked. It was really nice visiting Jim and Linda again.
Hopefully we’ll see them again some time real soon.
Here are a couple pictures of our site, #29, at Prairie Pines.
The view out our back window.
We’re only staying at Prairie Pines one night. Stay tuned to find out where we go next.